NHL Player News
Connor Hellebuyck will make his NHL debut in net Friday against the Wild, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Hellebuyck was recalled from AHL Manitobal last Saturday following an injury to Ondrej Pavelec, but has served as the backup to Michael Hutchinson since then. With a back-to-back set on tap for the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and Saturday, the 22-year-old netminder will finally get his chance. Hellebuyck posted a 2.41 GA and .927 save percentage in 10 appearances for AHL Manitoba, and will look to start off his NHL career on the right foot Friday against a Wild team offense that will get a big boost with the return of star winger Zach Parise.
Braden Holtby will be in the crease Friday against the Lightning, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
Holtby will look to extend his winning streak which currently stands at five games, with one of those victories -- a road contest in Detroit -- taking place in overtime. Nobody in the NHL has more wins than Holtby's 13 this season. If you roster him in fantasy pools, there has to be much appreciation for his 1.95 GAA which is second best in the league and only a sliver behind Henrik Lundqivst's rate of 1.94 GAA.
Pekka Rinne will make his 400th NHL appearance when he works between the pipes Friday afternoon against the Flyers.
Rinne is a true workhorse for the Preds, between the aforementioned milestone and the fact that he's embarking on his 19th start in 21 games. He's an attractive fantasy option against the Flyers as that team has only deposited 39 goals in 22 games.
Devan Dubnyk will start Friday afternoon against the Jets at home, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports.
Dubnyk has played in 19 of Minnesota's 21 games this season, with Darcy Kuemper starting only twice as the backup goalie. As noted in the report, Dubnyk doesn't mind such a heavy workload. "It's fine by me," said. "Any time I end up actually not playing, I wish I was playing anyway. I'll play as much as I can and as much as Mike (Yeo) wants to put me in. I'll just try to keep giving him a reason." The workhorse will carry a 2.52 GAA and .910 save percentage into Friday's contest.
Mike Smith will start in net Friday against the Flames, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 The FAN reports.
Smith has made 17 starts in 21 games for the Desert Dogs, compiling a 2.95 GAA and .906 save percentage on the season. It's an above-average matchup for Smith on Friday because the Flames have allowed 27 more goals (80) than they have scored (53) this season.
Roberto Luongo will be in the starter's end for Friday's home contest against the Islanders, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports.
Luongo has put up some real stinkers lately, allowing four or more goals in two of his past five contests. He fared a bit better against the Kings last Monday upon relieving Al Montoya -- who was forced out with an undisclosed injury -- but still ended up with a loss after swatting away 21 of 23 shots. Remember, Luongo has 15 years worth of NHL experience so he probably knows a thing or two about how to overcome struggles.
Jaroslav Halak will protect the goal Friday night against the Panthers.
Halak has drawn into seven contests this November, allowing only 14 goals in that timeframe. Florida, his upcoming opponent, is slightly below average based on an 8-9-4 record and minus-1 goal differential through 21 games.
Jonas Hiller will get the start Saturday against San Jose, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
Hiller hasn't played in nearly a month due to a hip injury but appears all healed up. Karri Ramo has played decently in his absence, but not well enough to put an end to the two-goalie rotation with Hiller. They will likely split time fairly evenly unless one gets hot.
Marc-Andre Fleury will start Friday night on the road against the Blue Jackets, per Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers.
It became clear that Fleury would start after it was reported that he was the first goalie off the ice in the Friday morning skate. Fleury's made eight starts this November, having registered a 5-3-0 record to go along with a 2.89 GAA and .902 save percentage.
Michal Neuvirth will start Friday at home versus the Predators, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia reports.
Neuvirth has only made one start in the past four games, with the Philadelphia Flyers making Steve Mason (3.00 GAA, .906 save percentage) the flavor of the month. Still, Neuvirth gets the nod in this matchup with the Preds, perhaps because of his 2-0-1 record, 1.28 GAA and .959 save percentage in three career appearances against them.